Can I divorce my husband because he refuses to be intimate with me?


I am quite torn as to what to do.  My first husband and I divorced because he was very abusive and repeatedly unfaithful.  My second marriage is proving to be a nightmare as well. He is cold, cruel, and emotionally abusive.  He has not slept in the same bed with me in two years (his choice). To my knowledge, he has not slept with another woman; however, he chose drugs over me and lost his ability to perform as a man, which was still an infidelity against me. He refuses to communicate with me on a rational level. We do not live as husband and wife -- no intimacy. I do not want to sin against God; however, my wrath grows stronger each day from the way I am treated. I behave in a much more godly fashion when we are not around each other.  He does not behave as a husband -- leaves all the time.  What should I do? Just be in an abusive relationship with a man who does not behave as a husband?


It sounds like you don't spend much time considering who you will marry until after you say, "I do." I'm sorry you made some bad choices.

Refusing or being unable to have sex is not infidelity or fornication. While he does not appear to be behaving as a good husband, all I find in your note is your unhappiness which you are calling abuse, but again you are throwing out terms inaccurately.

You freely chose this man to be your husband. You've entered a covenant with with that typically includes the phrase "for better or for worse." I strongly recommend that you find a way to make this marriage work. If drugs are an issue, then insist that he get treatment. If he refuses or his habit is impacting the family, then you can seek a separation until such time as he gets himself straighten out. Even if you do choose to get a divorce, which I don't recommend, it does not leave you with the right to marry yet another man. "Now to the married I command, yet not I but the Lord: A wife is not to depart from her husband. But even if she does depart, let her remain unmarried or be reconciled to her husband. And a husband is not to divorce his wife" (I Corinthians 7:10-11).

I am not using term, abuse, inaccurately. He screams at me, belittles me, lies to me, makes fun of me, goes into rages, break things, punches holes in walls, curses me, leaves the house if I dare to disagree with him, and frequently tells me to "get away from me" when trying to have a discussion with him. That is emotional abuse.

I did not jump into my marriages. I may have jumped into the first one, not the second. There was a ten year span between the two relationships. I dated my husband for a year before marrying him and was madly in love with him. He did drugs behind my back, and they permanently altered his personality. He is drug free other than cigarettes for now, but still behaves in the manner an addict does.

I still love the man I married, but he is not the man who is I see before me. I did not go into detail of the emotional abuse in my first e-mail because I assumed a Christian would take my word for what it is - truth. I see the lack of sex as infidelity because he damaged his body due to a love affair with hard drugs. Perhaps you should brush up on the effects of drug abuse and emotional abuse before judging me.

Thank you for your time! May you have a blessed day!

Odd how people get upset at me because they weren't complete or accurate in what they wrote. I've been helping people far too long not to realize that people massage the truth. So, having only what you say, I look for verification. Notice that you went from "cold, cruel, and emotionally abusive" in your first note to passionately violent in this note.

What you describe is a man who has problems controlling his anger. He should get counselling for it before he hurts someone. If you feel you are in danger, then you ought to leave for your safety, but leaving won't justify a third marriage.

I'm sorry you didn't pay attention to the signs of his drug use, but that too doesn't change matters. You can claim infidelity all you want, but it remains a fact that drug use and a lack of intimacy is not fornication.

I wrote an earlier response to this e-mail, however there are still some things you wrote that really bother me, so I feel I must clarify my situations. You mentioned that if I get a divorce that it doesn't "leave me with the right to marry yet another man." I did not enter into marriage lightly. I stayed in my first marriage via intense emotional and physical abuse. The abuse was beyond anything imaginable to most humans. If I had not left the marriage, I do not believe that I would be physically alive today. That is why I left. He also had affairs with a multitude of women throughout our marriage. He wouldn't keep a job, slept all day while I worked, and then he got drunk and high every night. He would return days later to inflict intense abuse and then would go out for more fun while I worked full time at an outside job and in the home. I left him barely still alive from the abuse. Ten years later, I married again to a man I loved very much. I have stood by this man via emotional abuse, financial ruin, and loneliness. I take marriage VERY seriously and have endured more in my marriages than most people could ever imagine in a lifetime. You accuse me of jumping into marriages yet you make rash judgments against me. I strive to honor God every day. I shouldn't be condemned for asking for guidance regarding an abusive marriage. Would Jesus honor your behavior toward me?

Notice that you went from "cold, cruel, and emotionally abusive" in your first note to passionately violent in your second note to "emotional abuse, financial ruin, and lonely" in your third note. I see no indication of a rash judgment on my part. Your first note did not state the time between marriages or the time you dated. All you mentioned is that you married a drug user and experience tells me that his drug use was going on before you started dating him. I'm sorry that in the year that you dated him you didn't notice the signs, but there is nothing you or I can do about it.

You picked two poor husbands in a row. That does tell me something about you. I'm sorry you don't like that I pointed out the obvious. Rashness doesn't have to be something that is done in a short period of time. Rashness is not thinking about the consequences of a decision all the way through to where it will lead.

I cannot teach anything but what God wants taught. "If anyone speaks, let him speak as the oracles of God. If anyone ministers, let him do it as with the ability which God supplies, that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belong the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen" (I Peter 4:11). I have to make God happy with the answers I give, if you happen to be happy with the answer, then that is just a bonus.

Your first marriage was terminated because of fornication, that allowed you a second marriage. Your second marriage is not good -- however you decide to describe it -- but fornication is not one of the issues. You claim infidelity, but it remains a fact that drug use and a lack of intimacy is not fornication. If you feel you are in danger, then you ought to leave for your safety, but leaving won't justify a third marriage (I Corinthians 7:10-11). However, your notes don't strike me as saying you feel you are in danger, just that you don't like how your husband is behaving. My advice remains that the best solution is figuring out how to get your husband to counseling to manage his anger.